Our events have attracted over 200 local youth from all parts of Los Angeles County who come and experience a fun time, great giveaways & raffles, free food, and community resources. The "gay rainbow" truly shines at C.I.T.Y. x1 as our events are open to all youth, straight or gay, male or female, and are not limited to a specific group. Our attendees also represent a variety of cultures, languages, faiths, and backgrounds.
We have encountered many youth at our events who find themselves either homeless or under a transitional living program. A common factor has been not being accepted at home for being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. In several cases, kids are immediately ask to leave the house, with no prior notice or any resources, and find themselves on the streets on that same day. While some will gravitate towards local social services, several others will not and will go on for days without eating, showering, or shelter. Being out in the streets also increases risky behavior, such as unprotected sex and substance abuse.
When planning one of our events, we partner with local shelters to publicize our activities to encourage youth to attend. Attendees are not only provided with free food and a fun evening to help them forget about their problems for a day, but we also present with our Outreach Zone. Here we have various organizations in attendance that offer free services, amongst them are groups that offer transitional living, emergency beds/temporary shelter, hygiene products, and individual case management. Our goal is to get those youth who are ready to enter a residential program access to such services, as some are not aware that they exist. Through our partnerships with local organziations, these avenues are proivded to help give youth a gateway to housing, job trainings, counseling, GED & college enrollment, and emotional support. Recently, we have also increased out outreach to local corporations to get clothing and other useful items donated for our holiday events.
Our events regularly offer giveaways and raffle items, some of which include clothing, backpacks, and giftcards. Free food is always available to all youth in attendance and homeless youth can always take bags of extra food to take with them if they wish.
The numbers of newly diagnozed cases of HIV and STD's in Los Angeels County continues to grow on a daily bases. LGBTQ Youth, and more speicifically youth of color, are a greater risk of contracting an STD.
C.I.T.Y. x1 offers free Rapid HIV Testing at all of its events. Youth can conveniently take a test during the event and get their results within minutes. All Testing Counselors are certified to administer the tests and are prepared to give youth who test positive resources for additional tests, treatments, and medication. When possible, incentives are given to encourage more youth to get tested; some of these inclusde giftcards, t-shirts, giftbags, and/or raffle prizes.
In 2014, we began offering a 1-hour Safe Sex Workshop prior to each event. Workshop participants are given a crash-course on STD's, safe sex, "urban myth busters", and a Q&A session to answer questions they may have. Engaging topics, colorful visuals, and modern lingo are all used to make this a fun and engaging workshop that educates youth to live healthier lives and practice safe sex. Literature and a list of local resources is also given to particiaptns to take with them. A total of 4 workshops were offered in 2014 and over 120 youth went through the trainings. All youth were given a $10 Target giftcard for attending, and completing, the workshop.
Source: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Official Site
New HIV InfectionsAmong Youth (Aged 13–24 Years)
- In 2010, youth made up 17% of the US population, but accounted for an estimated 26% (12,200) of all new HIV infections (47,500) in the United States.
- In 2010, young gay and bisexual men accounted for an estimated 19% (8,800) of all new HIV infections in the United States and 72% of new HIV infections among youth. These young men were the only age group that showed a significant increase in estimated new infections—22% from 2008 (7,200) through 2010 (8,800).
- In 2010, black youth accounted for an estimated 57% (7,000) of all new HIV infections among youth in the United States, followed by Hispanic/Latino (20%, 2,390) and white (20%, 2,380) youth.
- Low rates of condom use. In a 2011 survey in the United States, of the 34% of high school students reporting sexual intercourse in the previous 3 months, 40% did not use a condom.
- Substance use. Nearly half (47%) of youth aged 12 to 20 reported current alcohol use in 2011, and 10% of youth aged 12 to 17 said they were current users of illicit drugs. Substance use has been linked to HIV infection because both casual and chronic substance users are more likely to engage in high-risk behaviors, such as sex without a condom, when they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Homelessness. Runaways, homeless youth, and youth who have become dependent on drugs are at high risk for HIV infection if they exchange sex for drugs, money, or shelter.
- Feelings of isolation. Gay and bisexual high school students may engage in risky sexual behaviors and substance abuse because they feel isolated and lack support.